Students perform in teacher’s doctoral recital

Morganne Ramsey

All three upper school choirs and Symphony performed in choir teacher Rodger Guerrero’s doctoral recital at the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica on Sunday.

As part of Guerrero’s coursework at the USC Thornton School of Music, he was required to conduct a recital related to his major, choral music and one of his three minors. This was his second recital, his first since 2006. After this, Guerrero will continue working on getting his doctorate, taking more classes and writing a dissertation.

The show was titled “Vignettes of Life,” and was categorized into themes that were named after major moments in the human experience. Chamber Singers performed in the first half and all of the choirs performed in the second half with the Symphony. The second half was a performance of a number of movements from Zoltan Kodály’s work “Missa Brevis,” The section was titled “Re-Creation.”

Guerrero and choir accompanist Sara Shakliyan went through thousands of songs to pick what they would sing for the recital.

In the end, the groups performed eight pieces made up of different movements and many different languages including French and German.

“No other high school choir could do this,” Guerrero said.

He had chosen to have mostly Harvard-Westlake musicians for the recital instead of exclusively hiring from USC, though he did have some USC soloist singers and instrumentalists.

In order to prepare, Chamber Singers had weekend rehearsals once a month and worked during class time. They will also perform a number of the pieces from this show during their tour in Eastern Europe during spring break.

“I’m honored to be singing in his doctoral recital,” said Alex Berman ’14, a Chamber Singer. “Knowing that he trusts us also motivates us singers to be the best singers because we all want him to pass and we want to do our part to make that happen.”